Playing Tag With Customers
Published: January 16, 2022
If I told you that customers simply hate to wait for a solution to their support issues, would it be news to you? Would it be a huge shock to learn they really don’t have a lot of patience to be put on hold or play email tag?
You’re most likely already aware that there has been an astounding rise in demand from today’s customers in two basic areas. The first is empathy. Now, last week I wrote a blog about Writing Customer Emails and how using templates and canned responses lacks the empathy that today’s customers say many support interactions lack. Customers want conversation. The other rise in feedback (coupled with empathy) from customers for 2022 is they want faster response times. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s a trend that has erupted and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Yes, 2022 Customers Want Better Responsiveness
The reality about 2022 (and beyond) is — if ever there was a “new normal” — it’s that people nowadays expect everything INSTANTLY. Not just want — they expect — super fast or even instant resolutions. They certainly expect at the very least instant replies, which can put a huge strain on a customer support team during peak hours. Furthermore, slow response times, or even what many companies may call “reasonable” response times can damage the relationship with the customer.
But you see, it’s not really their fault. To understand where they are coming from just take a look at the world in which we all live in today… computers, the internet, smart phones, and all the apps and services that go with it have created an impatient monster. No one has to wait for anything anymore. And when they do — they tend to get a bit crabby. Even I find myself getting a little impatient sitting through an entire Netflix intro as if the world is going to fall down in the next minute. So, I simply click the “skip intro” button and use the ten seconds ahead feature until I get to the meat and potatoes of the movie I want to see. I don’t have time to sit through all that nonsense. I want my movie NOW. And many customers, your customers, probably have the very same sentiment.
To put it bluntly, all of these advancements have created a global culture where cultivating the virtue of patience is simply not necessary. It wasn’t always that way, though.
We Used To Wait In Line For Everything.
For instance, back in my day (don’t laugh) if we wanted to see a movie at home, we had to get in the car and drive to the video rental store .If they were out of stock, well, you had to wait. Listen to a song? If you didn’t have the cassette tape, you waited for it to come on the radio. We actually sent handwritten letters out into the abyss hoping they would find their way in a week or so.
There was even a time when we would actually buy film for a camera. Then we would take pictures (1,2,3 hold it!..Click! Ok one more!) and then drop them off at a pharmacy, a photo hut or other developer. Sometimes we’d have to wait an entire week before we could see how they turned out.
Today almost everything is instant: Instant banking, instant messaging, instant loans, instant pictures, instant noodles, instant approval, instant movies, instant music…As Brooks from Shawshank Redemption famously said: “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry”.
Nothing could be more true. Now, I mention all of this because some would want to argue that the “old timers” like me, I’m a Gen X’er, are more patient because of our experiences before. Also, they would argue this behavior only belongs to The Millennials or Gen Z’ers. To a certain degree. Maybe. But this instant lifestyle is as global as it is generational. Gen X and even Boomer customers have been influenced by technology.
Customers Are Used To The Instant Lifestyle
So, Like it or not, people have grown accustomed to this instant lifestyle. Customer service and support has no choice but to adapt with the changing trends.
Customer’s emails will come when they come. Meaning, any time of the day or night. It may not be convenient for you that someone reports their issue at nine o’clock in the evening and expects a result right away. Or the support queue floods with more tickets than your current support team can handle. They do the best they can, but every second that ticks by is another frustrated customer looking into your competitor. You may be at the point where you want to throw your hands up and fiercely announce that there’s nothing more you can do — you just can’t afford more support staff.
Let me ask you this — can you afford to lose customers?
You might think losing a few over to the competitor is an acceptable loss if it saves you from additional customer support or customer service costs.
But how about potential customers? Because when a customer leaves they don’t just take their business with them, they take about sixteen other people with them as well right on over to your competitor.
Word-of-mouth. Unhappy customers are 95% more likely to talk about their experiences. Either online or with family or friends. A 2019 study by Forbes reports that customers tell around nine people about a positive experience, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience.
In this article from INC, the number one reason that drives customers away is, yep you guessed it, when they have to wait too long.
People are busy and lead busy lives. If you value their time — they will value you and your brand more. It’s that simple.
Customer Experience Is The New Black
When it comes to the customer experience, it’s crucial to keep a close watch on all current trends. Both in your own company,, as well as in the competitors and globally. Read these studies and reports being put out. Gain the insight you need to deliver exceptional service and keep your current customers loyal.
Blogs like this and podcasts like TelecastPH can help do some of the research for you and give you a run down of what’s happening. And also give some advice on ways you can improve your customer experience, without completely destroying your budget.
For instance there are many ways to increase responsiveness on the support floor. One way to avoid lengthy wait times is having a well-trained, knowledgeable support staff.
A support staff that breeds a culture where every agent strives to become a subject/product matter expert. This may seem rudimentary, and it is. But it’s an area that is often overlooked when trying to staff the customer support department.
You want your support staff to be heavily equipped to be our front liners. They should be able to provide resolutions and answers quickly and efficiently without having to “get back to them” or bounce the customer around to several other agents. Having a readily accessible knowledge base and other continuing training materials where agents can share and report unique cases to be accessed and studied is a great start on this process.
Simply put, the focus should be on “first contact resolution“.
Floor Walkers And Quality Analysts
Another layer to consider are Floor Walkers and Quality Analysts.
Floor Walkers can be available for immediate assistance. And the name says it all. They walk the support floor, watching and listening for any agent who may be struggling, need help, or an immediate second set of eyes. These are agents who have demonstrated not only superior knowledge, but also have leadership and critical thinking skills.
Quality Analysts on the other hand, monitor from the backend. They can pull call recordings and audit and assess agents’ email responses and find ways to improve them. This way the agent can see beyond the CSATs what they could have done to better enhance the experience for the customer.
The Telework PH Connection
The term “outsourcing” has become synonymous with cost savings. However, if you are looking for an outsourcing BPO partner in the Philippines just to save money, then you’re truly on the wrong track. Sure, it’s common knowledge our prices are going to be significantly lower than what you’d pay an in-house staff, there’s no question there. But what we offer is so much more than that.
We can help supercharge your support floor. Building an offshore team to work alongside your in-house team can bring so much value to your customer’s experience. Also, adding those extra layers of floorwalkers and QA from agents that are passionate about the customer experience will forever put an end to those long wait times and can be done affordably through outsourcing with Telework PH. No more email tag.
Sound like it may be a good fit? Only one way to find out. Let’s hop in a quick discovery call and talk about your needs. No obligation.